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Aug 7, 2011

EDITORIAL: In which I get my rant on regarding HCT and fans (by mistresscurvy)

I was originally going to talk about a lot of this stuff in my recap of Friday’s concert, but I decided that it should be its own separate thing, because they're related, but not the same.

Basically, I just want to lay out what my understanding is of what this tour is, and why they're doing it, and all that. I am not necessarily right; I haven't consulted with the band; this is, obviously, my opinion. But it may explain why I was totally happy with how Friday night went. It was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be.

So first off, the tour itself. This is the Honda Civic Tour, co-headlined by Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance. Now, I fucking love MCR. I think they give a great concert, they've sold millions of albums, I want to smush them all to my bosom, etc. etc. etc. But of those two acts? Blink is bigger. There's no fucking question. And given how the event itself is billed, this tour reflects that. Blink's logo is on the top of every piece of signage. Blink has promoted this tour to its fans in a way that MCR hasn't, especially when compared with the World Contamination Tour.

Also, Blink was one of the biggest fucking rock bands in the U.S. in the late '90s and early 2000s. They were EVERYWHERE. And I will say it again: THEY ARE A MUCH BIGGER BAND. I don't own a single Blink album and never have, and I recognized almost all of the songs they played during the portion of their set that I was at. Their overall cultural impact is MUCH greater and wider than MCR's. The DEPTH of MCR's fanbase's love for them is almost certainly equal to to the depth of Blink's fanbase's love for them, but Blink's is much, much wider. But the other key thing is that this tour is HUGELY important for them. They haven't released an album since 2003, this is the first time they've toured with new music since that album, and they’re trying to reestablish themselves as being a band that’s relevant. And all of this was reflected in the audience in Jersey Friday night.

Basically, there were a lot of levels of Blink fans at this concert: there were the diehards who've been waiting since the last U.S. tour in 2009, there were the 23-year-old douchebag dudebros who were too young to see them in their heyday and were finally able to now, there were casual fans who were like hey, Blink's doing a concert, and it's outside, in the summer! Awesome, and there was the sixteen year old girl FREAKING OUT and singing along to the entire concert, and you had guys who just wanted to get HIGH, and all that. This is a comeback tour, this is a nostalgia tour if we're honest (these are 39-year-old dudes singing about how lame it is to be 23 (in a song which they wrote in their late twenties)), and this is a tour at which 66-75% of the audiences (at least if they’re all like the crowd was on Friday night, which was in motherfucking Jersey, come on) are going to be there for Blink.

I've seen a lot of people say that MCR is really more of a first opener, rather than a co-headliner. I really don't agree with that at ALL. A twelve song set is not an opener, guys. The amount of tech that they had going on during their set was not that of an opener. And they are also just too big a band to be an opener at this point; the only way for the HCT to LAND My Chem for this tour was to make them a co-headliner, and to give them the profits and billing and blah blah blah that you get from that.

I think it probably would have been a good call for the promotion to have been more upfront about the fact that while they're co-headlining, it's not an even split--their set is an hour, Blink's is about ninety minutes. While I wasn't that shocked by that, apparently some people were, which would suck if that wasn't what you were expecting, I grant you. But seriously, that division just makes fucking SENSE. Just timingwise, you add their two sets to an ACTUAL opener and switching the stage around and blah blah blah, and you're still looking at a 4 hour concert by the time Blink is done. Would I have been happier if the split had been 15 MCR songs and 15 Blink songs, rather than 12 and 18 or whatever? Of course I would have. But that is NOT what this crowd is pulling, at all.

And part of the reason why is that this is MCR's second major U.S. tour this year. In terms of who's going to this concert FOR MCR, it basically boils down to: A. people like me, who saw one or more WCT shows and still want to see more, B. people who DIDN'T get to see any WCT for whatever reason, and C. people who are fans of both bands and are like hey, cool. That is not going to be the massive pull that Blink has right now. There aren't actually SO MANY people in A. and B. that it's going to equal the pull of a band like Blink. For the VAST MAJORITY of people at these concerts, this is the first MCR concert they’ve seen this year, if ever.

Now, there were definitely people at that concert who were into MCR, no question, and the crowd as a whole RESPONDED during their big singles from Revenge and TBP. WTTBP and I'm Not Okay and Teenagers and Helena were all hugely high energy in the crowd. But that actually brings me to another point, which is that I think this setlist is exactly right for this tour.

Would I be happy if they played a bunch of deep cuts off of Revenge and TBP and maybe some S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W or Save Yourself or hell, Kill All Your Friends? Of course I fucking would be. But I'm not the person they're making up these setlists for, and I fucking shouldn't be. This is a tour that needs a setlist that contains A) a selection of songs from their current record, so that the MCR fans who didn’t see WCT and Blink fans get to hear their new stuff, and B) their major singles from their albums that had the greatest cultural impact. And that's EXACTLY what they played. I'm not sure why people would expect that on a tour like this, one where the entire crowd ISN'T made up of hard core MCR fans, they would play fewer singles and more deep cuts.

Are there some songs they could change out? Sure, of course there are, especially out of the songs from DD--they could switch out Destroya for Party Poison, or Save Yourself for Vampire Money, or whatever. But to expect the core group of 6-8 songs, the singles, basically, to shift all that much is kind of unrealistic. And that doesn't give them a lot of wiggle room in a 12 song set, and guess what! They're going to use that wiggle room to play the songs from DD that they want to play the most. I think it’s pretty clear that they have their favorites off that album by now. That’s not weird. It’s unfortunate if your favorite songs off DD aren’t on that list--I would love to hear Save Yourself live, for example--but they’re not killing puppies by not playing them. And while deep cuts from Revenge and from TPB might be more familiar to some of the crowd, those aren't the songs the guys want to play--they want to play the songs from the album they just made and love.

Also, I have to fucking address the comments that some have made about the band being "lazy" with their setlists, and that they're not really trying anymore, because if they did they would work up more old songs, or at least DIFFERENT songs, or whatever the fuck.

Are you fucking shitting me? Do you ACTUALLY THINK that it's them not wanting to put in the time and effort of PRACTICING that's determining whether they play certain songs? They are professional fucking musicians, guys, and we're talking about SONGS THAT THEY WROTE. I am PRETTY FUCKING SURE that what determines which songs they play is their assessment of the crowds, and what they think is going to go over well, and also WHAT THEY WANT TO PLAY. If they wanted to fucking play a song that’s not currently in their rotating setlist, THEY WOULD. They're not not playing it because they're LAZY.

But you know what? Since the beginning of February, these guys have done 75 concerts on three different continents, not including the first two concerts of the HCT. When they’re traveling in between concerts, that is not REST, or a vacation; that is still fucking work. Two of them have young children; all of them have families and other parts of their lives that aren’t the band that matter to them. If I’m wrong, if it really is that they’ve decided that they can’t spare the time to practice a couple of new songs to vary the setlist more, I AM FUCKING OKAY WITH THAT. I want them to fucking HAVE that time so that they can be good and happy people and fathers and husbands and BAND MEMBERS, so that in ten years they’re still playing concerts supporting their EIGHTH album. If they can fucking play the same songs over and over again with the same energy and love as the first time, then I can fucking be HAPPY about being privileged enough to see them perform multiple times. I’m Not Okay can’t POSSIBLY be a “fresh” song for them to play at this point, but they always fucking bring it and MAKE it new, and if I can’t appreciate that anymore, maybe I should take a break from going to concerts, for real.

IN ADDITION, playing a full set for sixteen thousand people when approximately four to five thousand of them are there for you and the rest of them are anything from open to ambivalent to dismissive to ACTIVELY HOSTILE towards your music is not fucking EASY, no matter what you're playing. It TAKES something to do that, and to get the crowd going, and they started off strong, powered through, and then closed it out with a fucking 1-2-3 punch of AWESOME with Kids into INOK and then ending with FLW. That is not a lazy set. You go up there and fucking try it.

Sometimes when we're mega fans of things we lose sight of the fact that most of what our bands or our shows or our actors or what the fuck ever do isn't being done for US. The hardcore diehards are not actually the majority of fans, and our desires cannot be the ones they focus the most on, most of the time. Now, on the one hand, that sucks, because omg we love them best of all! I have spent literally THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on my fannish loves over the years. I have probably spent close to a thousand dollars on MCR just this past year alone. And you know what? That doesn't entitle me to shit. I paid twenty dollars for a seat on a lawn Friday night in New fucking Jersey to see MCR (and Blink, which, by the way? You're also paying for. The reason the tickets are the prices they are is because you're paying for BOTH BANDS, even if you're just there for one). And that's what I got. They played me a show that included six songs from their current album (including one that they rarely played during WCT) and six classics. Gerard Way called me a motherfucker and told me I'm good looking because I'm in Jersey, and Ray Toro and Frank Iero bounced around the stage like crazy mofos, and Mikeyway was a TOTAL FUCKING HOTASS, and Pedicone played dem drums and Dewees hit an opening note to WTTBP that made the entire crowd shout out. That is what I paid for, and that is what I was promised, and that is what I got.

If you don't think that MCR is going to give you what you want from this tour, then don't fucking go. Sell your tickets on stubhub, and bitch in your journals about how this isn't the same band. But don't fucking complain to me about a concert YOU WEREN'T EVEN AT, or about how this band is lazy now, or isn't giving you what you thought you were going to get. And don't act like you have a better idea of how to be a fucking rock band than this group of guys, and don't be afraid to fucking SHOW THESE MOTHERFUCKERS how much you love them, no matter how many douchebag dudebros are around. You want Gerard Way to be Gerard Way? Give him a good reason to be.

Okay. Back to your regularly scheduled squee and porn.

mistresscurvy - dreamwidth

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